News / Africa

Egyptian Protesters Denounce Military, Security Forces After Soccer Disaster

Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012
Fans from Al Ahly and Al Zamalek soccer teams chant slogans against the violence that occurred during a soccer match involving Al Ahly in Port Said, February 2, 2012

Thousands of Egyptians in Cairo have protested to denounce the country's military rulers and security forces for failing to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people and injured hundreds more in the northern city of Port Said.

Some protesters gathered Thursday in central Cairo's Tahrir Square while others marched to the nearby Interior Ministry, where riot police fired tear gas to keep them away.  A crowd also chanted slogans against the ruling military at a Cairo train station where survivors of Wednesday's riot were returning home, some of them injured.



Egypt's military-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri said the government fired the board of Egypt's soccer federation and suspended Port Said's governor and security chiefs in response to the disaster, one of the deadliest in the history of the sport.  He announced the actions at an emergency parliament session.

The head of Egypt's military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, declared three days of national mourning and vowed to find the culprits. Police have arrested 47 suspects.

"God willing, if there is any person planning to destabilize Egypt, he will fail to achieve his goal," said Tantawi. "Everyone involved in this incident will be handed a fair sentence."

Some lawmakers blamed the riot on loyalists of former President Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a popular uprising one year ago, while others demanded the firing of Egypt's interior minister. The lawmakers also voted to conduct an investigation. Egypt has experienced a series of deadly incidents linked to poor security in the past year, leaving many Egyptians worried about instability.

Egypt's main stock index fell more than two percent on Thursday.

The head of world soccer's governing body FIFA sent a letter to Egypt's soccer federation demanding a full explanation of the disaster and calling it a "black day for football."  Sepp Blatter also said football is a force for good and authorities must not allow it to be abused "by those who mean evil."  Egypt's soccer league has been suspended indefinitely.

The Port Said riot erupted at the end of a match in which home team Al-Masry scored an upset 3-1 victory over Cairo's visiting Al-Ahly club.  As most police looked on, thousands stormed the pitch and panicked fans rushed for the exits but were crushed against locked gates.

VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott said the atmosphere in Port Said was tense Thursday, with troops deployed to prevent further battles between rival fans. She said some protesters in the city blamed the disaster on negligence by the security forces, while others called for retaliation against the fans who instigated the violence.

"It was a match, we were playing a game," said a football fan who was caught in violence in Port Said. "I though Egypt was better than this but we got beaten and injured. Many people died. The government provided army cars for us. We are now here."

"We are calling on all in the government to investigate and to help, so that the 74 people who died can have some justice," said another fan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs